Electrical Team Making Progress and Giving Thanks!

The Hackerspace has been kept heavily utilized by CalSol lately!
The Hackerspace has been kept heavily utilized by CalSol lately!

The electrical team has been making good headway lately, with new, experienced, and alumni members all working to finish the assembly, testing, and troubleshooting of Zephyr’s electrical system.

The HCI (Human Control Interface) sub-systems are able to communicate among themselves over the CAN bus, which stands for Controller Area Network and allows for communication without a central computer. These sub-systems include the dashboard, accelerator and brake, steering wheel and side panel, and the two motor controller controller (which controls the motor controller, and is dubbed the MC^2). The controllers are working, and the motors are able to spin.

Regarding the solar cells, the solar array is coming together, with the team ready to finish placing the cells. The MPPT’s (Maximum Power Point Trackers, which keep the solar array at an optimal power output by manipulating on the I-V curve) are able to communicate over CAN as well.

Additionally, the two power hubs (which distribute power to the various electrical systems, which need to be kept on lines of separate voltages) are ready, and the BMS (Battery Management System) seems to be operational. All the electrical boards have been soldered, populated with components, and tested. The battery box has been built, and the fuses, connectors, and peripherals are being mounted.

The HCI system, including the LCD readout for the driver
The HCI system, including the LCD readout for the driver
The little nickel strip on the bottom of the module with the hole punched out is used to help measure voltage across the battery banks
The little nickel strip on the bottom of the module with the hole punched out is used to help measure voltage across the battery banks
Careful alignment of the solar array is required, since the indentations on the carbon fiber shell allow for little tolerance
Careful alignment of the solar array is required, since the indentations on the carbon fiber shell allow for little tolerance

We couldn’t have done this without the financial and technical support of our sponsors:

Advanced Circuits, for producing many of Zephyr’s PCB’s!

Bay Area Circuits, also for producing many of Zephyr’s PCB’s!

LEMO, for donating connectors!

Phoenix Contact, also for donating connectors!

Linear Technology, for giving LT boards and chips, providing monetary donations, as well as technical support and guidance!

 

 

 

Thanks for catching up with us, and see you soon!

By Viswanath Chatterjee

Hello! I'm Vish, and I've been part of CalSol since Fall 2013, the start of my freshman year. My main focus is electrical, but I have a good deal of mechanical experience (I've had a job at a machine shop, and have built plenty of personal projects since I was little), and should be able to help you out if you need anything technical. I also have experience communicating with companies, so let me know if you'd like help securing donations, finding contacts, etc. If you'd like to contact me, I respond to my e-mail fairly quickly.

Work hard, and have fun!